BY ANDREW McSTEEN
Crystal Palace defender Gary Cahill made his 99th clearance this Premier League season with one of the final touches in the Eagles’ 1-0 victory over Watford at Selhurst Park on Saturday – their third 1-0 Premier League win in a row to put them 12 points clear of safety.
Palace are now up to nine clean sheets this season, with Cahill having played in 20 of the 29 league games this season, including six of those defensive stands.
“As a defender, I’m delighted with three clean sheets on the spin, but most of all with the three wins,” said the former Chelsea defender, who was signed on a free transfer at the start of the season. “Because that’s what’s it’s all about; it’s about getting the wins and pushing up the league, but it’s a collective effort all the way from Christian (Benteke) [up front], back to us [in defence].
“You have to work hard to get clean sheets in this league and we’ve managed to get three on the bounce, so that’s very good.”
This season Cahill has played in a variety of different centre back pairings, including with Martin Kelly, Mamadou Sakho, James Tomkins, and, for the those run of 1-0 victories, Scott Dann.
However, this has not phased the former England and Bolton player, who freely admits it has taken time to learn all the different playing styles, but which is now paying off, thanks to the professionalism of those in the defensive unit.
“It’s been made quite easy because of the calibre and the kinds of personnel that are here [at the club],” said the 34-year-old about the challenge of playing with different defenders.
“You look at the centre backs that are available to this club and the first thing that springs to mind is how experienced they are. It’s not like there’s young kids there, there are players who have been in this league for a long time.
“The more you train with them, the more you get to know their game,” he explained. “I think good players can always adapt to different styles and different personnel that have come in and that’s what we’ve all managed to do, and Scotty’s been fantastic the last few weeks he’s been in.”
Photo by Keith Gillard
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